Friday, April 9, 2010

This is how I know I’m getting old

A young woman came into my office today and met with my manager along with several of us to learn about the kinds of work we do and inquire about any potential entry level and student positions that might be available. She is about to finish her bachelor’s degree and has already applied for graduate school in the area. She had limited time because she was also here for a school engineering competition down at Lake Mead. She came into our office wearing short shorts and flip flops.

Seriously? You’re here at a government office to inquire about potential employment as a civil engineer and you show up in shorts and flip flops?

Is it just me? Have I become such a conservative fuddy-duddy that I frown upon people showing up in beachwear asking for a job? I mean, for crying out loud, she was on her way to the lake to participate in a concrete canoe race – shouldn’t I cut her some slack?

In the plus column – she clearly has initiative. She scheduled ahead of time and made a point to come to the office even though her teammates were waiting impatiently (as I assume from the texts going back and forth towards the end of her visit). She’s got enough drive and discipline to aim for a master’s degree, which most civil engineers don’t require to get decent work. I like initiative. It tells me that she wouldn’t sit around the office all day waiting for someone to hand her something to do, but would go out and find a way to be productive.

But showing up in beachwear shows poor judgment, in my humble opinion. We actually have quite a bit of interaction with stakeholders in this office. We need people who are going to represent the organization well. If someone represents him/herself in beachwear when asking for a job, I think it does throw into question how the individual would represent him/herself and the organization to stakeholders.

I’m not saying she should have showed up in a formal suit or anything. I think that would have been a bit much, I mean this was not even an interview – just an informal meeting and request for information. But I do think jeans and sneakers at a minimum would have been more appropriate. She could have changed into her shorts and flip flops in the bathroom just before she left for the lake.

Am I being too judgmental? Am I really just an unbelievable conservative fuddy-duddy when it comes to office matters because I think one should try to appear “professional” when dealing with prospective employers? Am I too old school? Am I just getting old?

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